You may have heard of the popular museums of Kolkataâsuch as Indian museum, Victoria Memorial, Marble Palaceâfeatured inevitably in every listicle and travel guide. However, have you ever explored these lesser-known gems of the city:
Fanattic Sports Museum
Tucked inside the Ecospace Business Park (Rajarhat) on the eastern fringe of Kolkata, the Fanattic Sports Museum is truly a sports loversâ delight. A collaboration between industrialist Harshvardhan Neotia (who provided the 3,700 square feet space) and scholar and sports journalist Professor Boria Majumdar (whose huge private collection is the backbone), it contains 133 exhibits, 60 graphic boards along with an indoor stage and a theatre that can accommodate about 50 people. Conceptualised and executed by Salient Design Studio, the museum is an example of adaptive reuse â created out of an abandoned food court. At this highly interactive museum you can shadow play with bats once used by cricketing greats, including Sir Donald Bradman. While cricketing history and memorabilia takes precedence over others, there are also sweaters and jerseys used by Indian greats from other sports fields too, including PV Sindhuâs Rio medal winning jersey. There are memorabilia linked to Deepa Malik, Devendra Jhajharia, Karun Nair, Mary Kom, Vijender Singh among Indian players and Pele, Usain Bolt, Roger Federer among those from abroad.
The museum is open 11am to 7pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Entry fee: Rs 100 per head; students with valid ID card pay Rs 50 per head. Note: Children below five years not allowed.
Fanattic Sport Museum, Ecospace Business Park, Action Area II, New Town, Kolkata 700156.
Maulana Azad Musuem
Indian statesman and scholar, and the first Union Education Minister of India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad spent a significant time in Kolkata. The house in south Kolkata, where he lived, has been converted to a museum under the aegis of Maulana Abut Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies. Archival material, some extremely rare, are the mainstay of the museum, along with personal memorabilia of the great statesman.
No entry fee. Museum is open Monday to Friday, 10.30am to 5.30pm.
Maulana Azad Museum, 5, Ashraf Mistry Lane (near Ballygunge Military Camp Gate), Kolkata-700019.
Netaji Subhas Museum
A part of the Kolkata-based ancestral home of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose has been converted into a museum under the aegis of the Netaji Research Bureau. The building itself is a beautiful example of an early 20thÂ century Bengali residence. A biographical museum, it contains memorabilia pertaining to Netaji collected from across the globe. Two of the biggest attractions here are Netajiâs bedroom, which has been left just as it was when he made his great escape from this house and India; and the German Wanderer Sedan car in which he escaped from Kolkata to Gomoh. There are lots of personal artefacts, letters, photographs and other archival material pertaining to Netaji and his times.
Ticketed entry. Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 4.30pm.
Netaji Museum, Netaji Bhawan, 38/2, Lala Lajpat Rai (Elgin Road) Sarani, Kolkata- 700 020; tel: Â 033- 2486 8139.
Kolkata Police Museum
Revolutionaries of Bengal, who took up arms against the British rulers during the fight for Independence, used to invent myriad ways to carry their weapons, some of which are on display at the Kolkata Police Museum. Located in one of the busiest localities of central Kolkata, it has an interesting collection including a walking stick gun, book bomb, and pen pistol. Housed in a historical building (the former home of social reformer Raja Rammohan Roy), the 2,000 square feet museum collects, preserves and interprets objects related to Kolkata Police (earlier referred to as Calcutta Police) since its inception.
No entry fee. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 11am to 5pm.
Located on the ground floor of the Institute of Cultural Research (Kankurgachhi) in east Kolkata, this is probably the only dedicated boat museum in the country. Initiated by former CBI joint director Upen Biswas during his tenure as a state minister, the museum contains 46 scaled models of various kinds of indigenous boats that once plied (or still ply) along the rivers of pre-partition Bengal. Swarup Bhattacharyya (now curator at Maulana Azad Museum) had guided the Rajbangshi craftspeople from Dakshin Dinajpur district of the state in constructing these models. Although you may not find a guide around always, it will be evident that each boat is unique and was used for a particular purpose.
No entry fee. Open 10am to 5pm, Mondays to Fridays; apart from weekends, also closed on government holidays.
Boat Museum, Institute of Cultural Research, Ambedkar Bhavan, P-1/4, CIT Scheme, VII-M, VIP Road, Kankurgachhi, Kolkata 700054; tel: 033-23207623.